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White House Announces Nomination of Mignon Clyburn to Democratic FCC Spot

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2009 – The White House announced late Wednesday its intention to nominate South Carolina Public Service Commissioner Mignon Clyburn to the Federal Communications Commission.

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WASHINGTON, April 30, 2009 – The White House announced its intention to nominate South Carolina Public Service Commissioner Mignon Clyburn to the Federal Communications Commission late Wednesday.

If confirmed, Clyburn would fill the Democratic seat being vacated by Democrat Jonathan Adelstein, who has been tapped to run the Agriculture Department’s Rural Utility Service. She would also fill a seat on the FCC that is by custom occupied by a state-level commissioner, previously Republican Deborah Taylor Tate, who was a director of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority before serving on the FCC during the Bush administration.

Clyburn, the daughter of House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., was first elected to the South Carolina Public Service Commission in 1998. South Carolina PSC members are elected officials who serve four year, staggered terms.

Clyburn has also been in charge of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Washington Action Program for the past three years, coordinating lobbying efforts by state utility commissioners.

Acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps hailed the White House announcement of Clyburn, calling her “an excellent choice” to join the commission. “The experience she brings…will be an invaluable asset as we address the many challenges and opportunities that are before us,” he said.

“Senator [Jay] Rockefeller believes Mignon Clyburn will bring to this position an important rural state-based perspective and an understanding of the federal-state dynamic on regulatory issues,” said a spokesman for Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. “The Committee’s intent is to move expeditiously to consider all pending nominees as soon as their paperwork is ready.”

Industry reactions to the announcement were universally positive.

National Cable and Telecommunications Association CEO Kyle McSlarrow said Clyburn “brings an insightful and pragmatic perspective to the complex policy issues that the FCC is tackling in today’s dynamic telecommunications environment.” Her experience at NARUC will make her “an invaluable asset,” he added.

Clyburn’s state-level experience was also invoked by American Cable Association president Matt Polka. “We look forward to working with [Clyburn] on a host of issues,” he said, “including efforts to extend broadband further into unserved areas and boosting download speeds in underserved communities.”

And Sprint Nextel Corp. spokesman John Taylor said Clyburn “would bring experience, deep policy understanding and the perspective of a state utility commissioner to the FCC.”

“Ms. Clyburn’s knowledge of the telecommunications industry and her extensive background and experience in regulatory policy make her an excellent choice for this important post at the FCC,” said Steve Largent, CEO of CTIA – The Wireless Association.

Other state commissioners were similarly pleased with the announcement. D.C. Public Services Commission Chairman Betty Ann Kane, who serves alongside Clyburn on the NARUC telecommunications committee, said in an e-mail that she was “delighted,” touting Clyburn as being “familiar with the important role that states have in implementing telecommunications, including broadband access for all segments of the community.”

“I look forward to having an experienced colleague with a strong voice for the states on the Commission,” said Kane.

NARUC communications director Rob Thornmeyer said Clyburn would be missed by her peers, but they look forward to working with her in her new role. Clyburn is “a good fit for the job who knows the issues well,” he said.

And when asked about his daughter’s latest job offer, the elder Rep. Clyburn declined to make any policy related judgments, instead offering fatherly praise: “She is very competent and accomplished,” he said, “someone of whom I am very proud.”

Andrew Feinberg is the White House Correspondent and Managing Editor for Breakfast Media. He rejoined BroadbandBreakfast.com in late 2016 after working as a staff writer at The Hill and as a freelance writer. He worked at BroadbandBreakfast.com from its founding in 2008 to 2010, first as a Reporter and then as Deputy Editor. He also covered the White House for Russia's Sputnik News from the beginning of the Trump Administration until he was let go for refusing to use White House press briefings to promote conspiracy theories, and later documented the experience in a story which set off a chain of events leading to Sputnik being forced to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Andrew's work has appeared in such publications as The Hill, Politico, Communications Daily, Washington Internet Daily, Washington Business Journal, The Sentinel Newspapers, FastCompany.TV, Mashable, and Silicon Angle.

FCC

Cable Group NCTA Says Deny Exclusive Multitenant Access, But Not Wiring, Agreements

NCTA said the FCC should deny exclusive access to these buildings, but not exclusive wiring agreements.

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Michael Powell, president and CEO of NCTA

WASHINGTON, September 8, 2021 – The internet and television association NCTA is suggesting that the Federal Communications Commission deny all broadband providers exclusive access to multitenant buildings, but to continue allowing exclusive wiring agreements.

On Tuesday, the FCC opened a new round of comments into its examination of competitive broadband options for residents of apartments, multi-tenant and office buildings.

In a Tuesday ex parte notice to the commission, which follows a formal meeting with agency staff on September 2, the NCTA said the record shows that deployment, competition, and consumer choice in multiple tenant environments “are strong,” and that the FCC can “promote even greater deployment and competition by prohibiting not just cable operators, other covered [multiple video programming distributors], and telecommunications carriers, but all broadband providers from entering into MTE exclusive access agreements.

The organization, whose member companies include Comcast, Cox Communications and Charter Communications, also said it should continue to allow providers to enter into exclusive wiring agreements with MTE owners. Wiring just means that the provider can lay down its cables, like fiber, to connect residents.

“Exclusive wiring agreements do not deny new entrants access to MTEs. Rather, exclusive wiring agreements are pro-competitive and help ensure that state-of-the-art wiring will be deployed in MTEs to the benefit of consumers.”

The NCTA also told the FCC that there would be technical problems with simultaneous sharing of building wires by different providers and vouched for exclusive marketing arrangements, according to the notice.

The FCC’s new round of comments comes after a bill, introduced on July 30 by Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-New York, outlined plans to address exclusivity agreements between residential units and service providers, which sees providers lock out other carriers from buildings and leaving residents with only one option for internet.

Reached for comment on the filing, a spokesman for NCTA said they had nothing to add to the filing, which was signed by Mary Beth Murphy, deputy general counsel to the cable organization.

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China

Hytera’s Inclusion on FCC’s National Security Blacklist ‘Absurd,’ Client Says

Diversified Communications Group said the FCC flubbed on adding Hytera to blacklist.

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Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel

WASHINGTON, September 8, 2021 – A client of a company that has been included in a list of companies the Federal Communications Commission said pose threats to the security of the country’s networks is asking the agency to reconsider including the company.

In a letter to the commission on Tuesday, Diversified Communications Group, which installs and distributes two-way radio communications devices to large companies, said the inclusion of Hytera Communications Corporation, a Chinese manufacturer of radio equipment, on a list of national security threats is “absurd” because the hardware involved is not connected to the internet and “does not transmit any sensitive or proprietary data.

“It seems that Hytera has been lumped in with other Chinese companies on the Covered List simply because they happen to manufacture electronics in the same country,” Diversified’s CEO Ryan Holte said in the letter, adding Hytera’s products have helped Diversified’s business thrive.

“This is a wrong that should be righted. Hytera is not a national security risk. They are an essential business partner to radio companies throughout the U.S.,” the CEO added.

In March, the FCC announced that it had designated Hytera among other Chinese businesses with alleged links to the Communist government. Others included Huawei, ZTE, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, and Dahua Technology.

List among a number of restrictions on Chinese companies

This list of companies was created in accordance with the Secure Networks Act, and the FCC indicated that it would continue to add companies to the list if they are deemed to “pose an unacceptable risk to national security or the security and safety of U.S. persons.”

Last month, the Senate commerce committee passed through legislation that would compel the FCC to no longer issue new equipment licenses to China-backed companies.

Last year the U.S. government took steps to ensure that federal agencies could not purchase goods or services from the aforementioned companies, and had previously added them to an economic blacklist.

In July, the FCC voted in favor of putting in place measures that would require U.S. carriers to rip and replace equipment by these alleged threat companies.

The Biden administration has been making moves to isolate alleged Chinese-linked threats to the country’s networks. In June, the White House signed an executive order limiting investments in predominantly Chinese companies that it said poses a threat to national security.

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Digital Inclusion

FCC Says 5 Million Households Now Enrolled in Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

The $3.2 billion program provides broadband and device subsidies to eligible low-income households.

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Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel

August 30, 2021—The Federal Communications Commission announced Friday that five million households have enrolled in the Emergency Broadband Benefit program.

The $3.2-billion program, which launched in May, provides a broadband subsidy of $50 per month to eligible low-income households and $75 per month for those living on native tribal lands, as well as a one-time reimbursement on a device. Over 1160 providers are participating, the FCC said, who are reimbursed the cost to provide the discounted services.

The agency has been updating the public on the number of participating households for the program. In June, the program was at just over three million and had passed four million last month. The program was part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

“Enrolling five million households into the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program in a little over three months is no small feat,” said FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of nearly 30,000 individuals and organizations who signed up as volunteer outreach partners.”

Rosenworcel added that conversations with partners and the FCC’s analysis shows the need for “more granular data” to bring these opportunities to more eligible families.

The program’s strong demand was seen as far back as March.

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